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LeBron James sued by photographer

LeBron James in Lakers-Heat

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 13: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against the Miami Heat on December 13, 2019 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

After the Lakers beat the Heat in December, LeBron James posted a photo of himself in the game on Instagram.

Ryan Naumann of The Blast:

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, photographer Steven Mitchell is suing Lebron James and his companies Uninterrupted Digital Ventures and LRMR Ventures, LLC.

Mitchell explains, “This is an action for copyright infringement under Section 501 of the Copyright Act. This action arises out of Defendant’s unauthorized reproduction and public display of a copyrighted photograph of NBA basketball player Lebron James during a basketball game against the Miami Heat, owned and registered by Mitchell, a professional photographer.”


The law seems to favor the photographer, though establishing damages is another matter.

NBA players often post photos of themselves on social media. Teams – who typically employ their own photographers – should provide players with photos approved for distribution. That’d be an easy way around these issues.

But that’s a broader solution. LeBron will have to deal with this case.